Television

Marriage and foreplay Sharia-style

Plus: James Walton finds a cunning combination of familiar elements in BBC1’s drama The Driver

27 September 2014

8:00 AM

27 September 2014

8:00 AM

Needless to say, it’s not uncommon to hear single British women in their thirties and forties saying that all the good men are married. But in The Men with Many Wives (Channel 4, Wednesday) this came with a twist: it turned out to be precisely the reason why you should marry them too. Polygamy may be illegal in Britain, but it’s permitted under the Sharia law that many Muslims here apparently live by — and, as several of the programme’s participants told us, there’s no better guide to whether a man is husband material than the fact that he’s a husband already.

Take Nabilah, who came to Britain from Malaysia to do a PhD in engineering at Cambridge. By then she was divorced and wanted someone with a proven track record of staying with his spouse. She therefore abandoned her studies to become the second wife of Hasan, a Jamaican from Brixton who’d converted to Islam at 16 and who now proved an unfailingly genial guide to the whole polygamy business, including the need to divide your time scrupulously between any wives you might have. His own preference was for three nights in south London with his first wife and their two children, followed by three nights in north London with Nabilah and their two.

Or at least it was, until he married a third: a divorced driving instructor in her mid-40s called Anub. Fluent in the language of human rights, Hasan clearly regards himself as a liberal kind of guy, which is why he doesn’t insist that his wives be virgins. (‘That’s discrimination,’ he said firmly.) He does, however, draw the line at them not wearing the veil. Anub had never worn one before, but as Hasan told us, ‘People cover their cars, their valuables …it’s protection for me.’

Like all documentaries about Islam, The Men with Many Wives trod carefully. There was, for example, no exploration — or even mention — of the legal and societal implications of having two co-existing and contradictory laws governing family life. Everybody involved was also allowed to make their points entirely unchallenged, with the off-screen voice neither asking Nabilah why she left academia nor putting it to Hasan that most people don’t in fact cover their cars.


Nonetheless, the programme did certainly let us glimpse the possibility that not all the women involved were delighted with their lot. According to Mizan, who runs an east London marriage bureau with more than 50,000 clients, ‘We’ve got a massive oversupply of women in their thirties, forties, divorced. The majority of them want a monogamous relationship but it’s difficult, and more and more are considering becoming co-wives’ — a state of affairs he interpreted as proof that polygamy is ‘driven by the women, not the men’. Again, this was a theory the programme left unchallenged, even when he later added that ‘women are looking for security’, but ‘men are more driven to polygamy, and for 80 per cent of men it’s sexually driven. The guys are looking for one thing: it’s the body.’

As for Hasan, a more self-doubting man might conceivably have revised his rosy view of contented polygamy in the light of his decision not to invite his other two wives to his third wedding: ‘Even though they’re accepting of polygamy, you don’t want to rub it in their faces. You don’t expect them to be happy or have a party about it. You’re not doing it for them.’

By comparison, the various wives taking part didn’t say a great deal. One made the slightly odd point that a polygamous marriage spares you the problem faced by many monogamous women: that of wondering where your husband is at night and whether he’s with somebody else. (Presumably because you know he is.) Another added an unexpectedly racy note by explaining that ‘the Prophet says you must have foreplay’. But perhaps the most telling female remarks tended to consist of the same single word. One wife was asked if she missed her husband when he was away; a second, if she ever wished she didn’t have to share him; and a third, if she sometimes felt jealous. The answer in all cases was ‘yes’ — often followed by an indulgent chuckle from their men.

The Driver (BBC1, Tuesdays) belongs firmly to what might be called the Manchester school of modern TV drama. Generally written by people who cut their teeth on Clocking Off, Shameless or both, these are shows characterised by middle-aged men in crisis, sharp dialogue between salt-of-the-earth Mancs and an almost complete disregard for the unsaid. Luckily, in their crunching way, they’re also usually pretty good — and with its strong cast and winningly noirish atmosphere this one feels as if it will be too.

David Morrissey plays Vince McKee, a depressed middle-aged taxi driver, with plenty to be depressed about. His son has left home in what, after the first episode, remain mysterious circumstances. His scornful daughter has a boyfriend of more than average obnoxiousness. His passengers, when not loudly criticising his chosen route, are either vomiting or urinating in his cab.

But then Vince met his old pal Colin (Ian Hart), who’d just been released from prison after a sentence so lengthy that he was aghast to discover you couldn’t smoke in pubs. Colin in turn introduced the cash-strapped Vince to a bloke, ominously named ‘The Horse’ (Colm Meany), whose offer of serious money for becoming the driver for his criminal gang Vince duly couldn’t refuse. Now, of course, he’s In Over His Head…

Admittedly, there’s still no denying that The Driver does create an unignorable sense of déjà vu. Yet, as cunning combinations of familiar elements go, it’s shaping up rather nicely.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
  • Bonkim

    Is this man’s families on benefits?

    • Suzy61

      http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3234/muslim-polygamists-welfare-benefits

      I don’t know why I am moderated out for posting this link. It tells you all you need to know about polygamy and welfare in the UK. Read it and weep.

      • Bonkim

        Good point, I have dropped a line to my MP asking if anything is being done about this scam.

      • Rik

        I do, your link to unpleasant non multi/culti facts is a clear and present danger to the status quo.Moderated?? if you keep trying to tell the truth it will be the black helicopters next lol. Keep up the good work great link

    • jesseventura2

      You ever seen a gorilla working?

    • Rik

      I take it that was rhetorical, two soon to be three households with multiple children living in London would need what?About 200,000 pounds p.a.pre tax so i think we can safely assume this gentleman is either a Barrister or a benefit parasite.
      And yet again the law is not equally applied

  • It’s the death of decent human relations and freedom and ought not to be allowed in the great society called Great Britain. That is all I have to say about it.

  • Suzy61

    I didn’t see the programme but the photograph above is enough.

    • Bonkim

      Sickening!

    • waiting to inhale

      i agree, that pictures makes me ill

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    You could always try Mormonism. Joseph Smith gave up drinking and turned lechery into a religion.

  • Damaris Tighe

    Polygamy is some men’s dream. Women on tap, variety, & power because the husband gets to play off one wife against another. Note, it’s polygamy not polygyny – because the power relationships in reverse would never be tolerated.

    The Christian sources of European culture make marriage a one-to-one contract. This aims to force men into a relationship with women that’s more than just s*x & child bearing. It’s about the civilising influence of partnership between one man & one woman. Monogamous marriage is often far from the ideal but it’s our best chance of taming wild s*xuality & (contrary to the left’s mad anti-family agenda) of equalising power relationships between men & women.

    • Kaine

      Except what counted as monogamy depended upon who counted as women. Men were always permitted to sleep with their slaves, servants, prostitutes and social inferiors without this violating the marriage contract. As you went up the social scale the pool increased, such that almost every monarch up to the twentieth century had consorts.

      Marriage was about property, about a man being certain the children he was passing his land to were his. The current romantic partnership of equals is the result of a progressive feminist backlash, culminating in women’s economic emancipation following WW2.

      • Damaris Tighe

        I don’t deny any of this. But the development towards romantic partnership couldn’t have happened if the standard of monogomy wasn’t there in the first place.

  • Gerschwin

    Presumably only one wife has legal status as the wife – if not why aren’t the police involved?

  • Kasperlos

    21st century Britain meet 7th century Islam. Can all this really be a good mix for the future of the UK as a cohesive society? Not. A schizoid culture in the making helped by the academic left whose lowly standing is that of shyster lawyers. At once a PhD candidate write two doctoral thesis: ‘Empowerment of the Modern Women and Equal Rights’ while also writing ‘Why The UK Needs Sharia Law’. The messages being sent out daily have rendered many in the UK batty, they don’t know what to believe any longer. What they should start doing is to believe in themselves and reject the propaganda aimed at creating a Fifth World in Britain. Winnie Churchill, Field Marshal Montgomery et al are all spinning.

    • Kaine

      This would be Monty who had a thing for pretty young men under his command?

  • Vuil

    Just more vomitorious political correctness being pushed down the throats of long suffering OBs (Original Brits) now experiencing a slow motion genocide.

    Canada, until recently had similar nonsense broadcast by the CBC – “Little Mosque on the Prairie” – about a wonderful Muslim community out there on the prairie, fair and good and all that, showing their enlightened decency and the way forward by dealing with the racism of bungling whites include a white Christian minister.

    All whites were shown as insufferably stupid. All Muslims as wise and understanding. You know, the usual thing.

    Oh these were good Muslims. No decapitations for them. They simply displayed goodness and light. And dealt with the iniquities visited upon them by the intrinsically racist whites with uniform good cheer, while from time to time showing us the folly of our ways – our bigotry – with one or other lesson. Like The Driver it was written by people with an undergraduate mentality, but unlike The Driver multiple wives were only faintly mentioned. Canadian, you understand, being a polite society don’t like the reality of Muslims pushed into their faces. We are all the same is the Canuck motto.

    Despite having only a viewership of a few thousand (mostly Canadian Muslims) the CBC relentlessly persevered to bring light to the average evil white. So the program was shown season after season while ratings sunk lower and lower.

    All the while, like in the UK, funded by the very people the Bias Corps are trying to undermine. Still one positive thing: as the Muslim population explodes in the UK and white become a minority in their own country the Muslims will be forced to share more of the burden of funding the Beeb.

    See. There is light even in these increasingly brown times.

  • Liz

    “People cover their cars, their valuables …it’s protection for me.’”

    Cars and valuables don’t have rights and liberties, they’re objects.

  • Liz

    “People cover their cars, their valuables …it’s protection for me.’”

    Ah yes, the rape-proof veil. Nothing throws a rapist off his game quite as well as cotton.

  • Liz

    “it’s protection for me.’”

    What from? Sexists?

  • StiffUpperLip18

    Just how much more of this non-sense will Britain have to stomach before it realises it’s too late to mend the damage? These former colonial subjects were simply eager to drive the British out of their mother lands and determined their own destiny, a line so extensively used by Alex Salmond. Now they wouldn’t hesitate for a microsecond to come and enjoy lives under British rules. Why? Because they can exploit the wealth, liberty and compassion in a Christian UK and yet they haven’t a single thing to contribute. The left-wing half wits want us to be tolerant and embrace multiculturalism. So these monsters are bringing their evil practice to force it on us all in the name of multiculturalism. We have to tolerate them any yet not a single western practice can be tolerated in these monsters’ home lands.

  • Liz

    If I was married to a fat, smug, fugly like that, I’d only want to see him for a third of the week too. When I say “want to see him”, “I mean really really not”.

    • Bonkim

      Othello had his attractions for Desdemona – and dark hairy men have their functions – see what you are missing!

    • Suzy61

      It beggars belief that an intelligent woman like Nibalah would choose to marry this goon and live in a bin bag…? Words fail me.

  • Liz

    “Take Nabilah, who came to Britain from Malaysia to do a PhD in engineering at Cambridge. By then she was divorced and wanted someone with a proven track record of staying with his spouse.”

    I think ol’ Nabilah probably came to Britain to find a husband with a British passport.

  • Roy

    This surely shows the frailty and waffle of British law if it bends within a few short years to incoming migrants to suit their whim. More so to think the welfare industry has to bend and kilter into all sorts of shapes and distortions to bring into play an order we are able to interpret in any fair ruling for the disbursement of government (taxpayer) funds. While ensuring (one would hope) a corporate financial institution could not be formed for the husband to reap a good living with a myriad of wives.

    • Suzy61

      Equality before the rule of law is a true British value that has been warped to suit political ends, as you say. We have created chaos where there need not be any…all are equal, or should be. Myself, I blame the Blair shrew..never one to miss a money-spinner..for the loathsome Human Rights movement that protects nobody but the opportunists (like herself). BTW – she has just moved on and it will be interesting to see how her next ‘career choice’ will bring her untold advantages…

  • Suzy61
  • Mike

    No problem if the man wants to have many wives BUT the state should limit all benefits to ONE wife and TWO kids what ever your culture.

    If you want to play (be a procreation machine) after 2 kids it should be done at your expense and not the tax payers. Additionally you should pay towards the housing, welfare & schooling for those extra kids !!!!

  • jesseventura2

    ,Cameron made a big thing of stopping welfare benefits for illegal breeding sows handed out by Brown the clown but has he?

    • Suzy61

      Look at my link below

      • Mike

        Interesting, he’s done nothing but made it worse.

        If a marriage isn’t recognized by the state which according to the rules they aren’t, then these Muslim sperm donors should be hounded for child support in the same way other men are. As usual its one rule for those of that religion of peace and another for the rest of us !

  • Jaysonrex

    Muslims are amazing. The insignificant few that are educated beyond merely reading and writing continue to follow the Koran and Hadith to the letter – enslaving women and ultimately treating them like cattle.

    The big problem UK is facing at the present moment, one that in the very near future will become an unbelievable crisis, is how to get rid of ALL Muslims, citizens or not, and their descendants.

    The Lords must garner enough courage to declare Islam a political ideology (like Nazism) rather than a religion and proceed with the deportation of all ‘believers’ to the country where they or their parents came from.

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